Where did all the sighs go?
The love that would last forever?
The tears that stained the letters?
The everlasting? The undying?

The eternally yours? The initials
we wrote on the back of envelopes?

I forget so much. But I do remember
how the windows steamed up
in your mother’s car when we sat
together for hours with nowhere to go

and nobody around to disturb us.
Combe Dingle, Wotton-Under-Edge,
Weston-Super-Mare: these were our
favorite places, do you remember them?

Just being together was more than enough
to keep us happy. We don’t hold hands
anymore. It’s not something grown-ups do,
especially in front of the children or the late

night news. Nor do football games inspire
passion and send us into ecstasies the way
the white spot did as it lit up your mother’s
TV, with us alone, and her asleep in bed.

There are so many things packed into this poem, old things, perishable things, memories that will vanish, if they haven’t vanished already. Who now remembers writing regular letters, not e-mails or e-cards? Who remembers sealing them, perhaps with a loving kiss? Who remembers rushing to the front door as the postman pushes letters through the letter-box to see if the beloved has written back? If you didn’t go to a boarding school, you will know nothing about the 11:00 am break when we rushed back to our houses to go through the mail and see who had written. I’ll never forget those perfume-soaked envelopes I received from the local village girls. Nor will I forget a wrathful house-master, my scented letters stuffed up under his nose, sniffing at my letters like a bloodhound tracking me down.

27 thoughts on “S.W.A.L.K.

  1. Nice to remember old loves. It was fun figuring out the acronyms on the backs of the letters. I think I got them all! Once a boyfriend sent me 17 postcards, each with part of his letter. They arrived in order … I figure the post office folk had the first look at the message!

    Liked by 1 person

    • The acronyms are so dated. PHTR: postman hurry the reply! Cross-country check-up on CBC today talked about the importance of Canada Post. Should it change? How could it change? The acronyms so out-date Canada post! Those were the days when we used to actually write to each other. Even I have forgotten some of the acronyms. Not all of them, mind. And they were fun! Imagine kissing an e-mail. SWALK= Sealed With A Loving Kiss!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes letters are quite different than emails. Imagine keeping all your emails in boxes or under your pillow. Canada post may be important but I imagine its cargo has changed drastically…even businesses are abandoning paper for bills (not a bad thing). I had many pen pals as a child but the handwriting I remember most was of my Nana and Aunt Lucille, both departed…their handwritten words are a major part of my ‘knowing’ them.

        Liked by 1 person

      • The hand writing in the books dedicated to me at Christmas by my grand-parents still makes me weepy. In some ways, that’s all that’s left of them. Then there’s me and the other grand-children, so I warm up a bit. Voice is the same: so unmistakable when you hear it on the phone (from overseas) or in an old tape or recording. It can be haunting.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. There’s so much in this that speaks to me… Reminded me of how I used to sign off love letters with various made up acronyms. Invariably rude or suggestive. Typically convoluted. Often only half remembered and explained upon receipt!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I know / knew the feeling. I have even forgotten what some of the acronyms mean, not all of them, mind. I was going to add some rude things about boarding schools and decided not to: a waste of energy that is better used in positive pursuits. I was very impressed with England this fall. Saw all games except Fiji. Eddy Jones has really turned things on their heads … and it’s going to get better. Ireland in Dublin, 2017??? That will be the decider.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’d be happier if Warrenball wasn’t coaching. I’d also be happier if violent play within the first ten minutes of the game (immediately post-Haka) was actually penalized with a red card. To lose seven players in two games, like Ireland did, is no longer accidental and it’s no longer sport.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I didn’t see either Ireland game, sadly, but the reports were pretty brutal. NZ do have a history of resorting to that when their opponents dare to challenge them…

        Am no fan of Gatland either, but I guess he’s got Lions experience in his favour…

        Liked by 2 people

  3. but you write love poems. and your face lights up when you speak of your love. Maybe you could hands tonight, or tomorrow. or the next night. I GOT MY FIRST EVER LOVE LETTER yesterday. written on parchment, with a fountain pen. Paper smells like sandalwood.

    Liked by 3 people

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